USA Pentathlon Multi... Features Strength Training fo...

Strength Training for Swimmers When Pools are Closed

By Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas | April 07, 2020, 12 a.m. (ET)

Colorado Springs, CO - The recent pandemic outbreak of Coronavirus forced most sports facilities to close
across the country,including swimming pools. Athletes should not wait until facilities open to start training,
instead athletes should take advantage of this time and develop their individual training plan by spending
more time working on their weaknesses: nutrition, psychology, recovery, and massage for example. It is also
a perfect time for athletes to improve sport specific strength and swimming is one of the areas athletes
can benefit when pools are closed.

Many coaches and swimmers believe it is impossible to train swimming without water and have decided
to take a break from their training. Other swimmers are turning the challenge into an opportunity to
improve by spending more time training on land. Is it possible to maintain swimming skills and even
improve without a pool? Research shows that swimmers can benefit from training on land and develop
even better swimming technique, if they are doing certain exercises.
What Muscles Are Important For Swimming?

Swimming is one of few activities that engage all muscle groups. Swimmers don’t have bulky muscles.
Their muscles are rather long due to extending arms and body fully in the water. Swimming develops
specific strength endurance more than power, especially over distances longer than 100 yards/meters.
Swimming in practices develops a muscles ability to contract and relax in a certain rhythm.

Training of swimmers is different than runners in the same duration of exercise. For example, 100 meter
swimming event is about the same duration as 400 meter running. Theoretically, physiology and training
should be similar. However, practically it is completely different. Swimmers train much higher volumes
and lower intensity than runners over the same distance. It is related to swimmers ability to recover
faster, lower stress on the muscles, focus on distance per stroke, training methodology and traditions

Swimmers are not weightlifters or wrestlers either. Power sport athletes are focused on short and quick
movement. Their muscles are shorter and big. Since muscle mass is heavier than water, it is difficult for
weightlifters or wrestlers to swim fast (see Picture 1 below). Swimmers don’t need to be as strong as
power sport athletes.

To read the full article, click here to download the PDF.